Women & Online gaming

Based on a report from Mintel Online for online gaming, which by definition includes games downloaded from the Internet or played while online, there is a growing number of women playing online games, especially casual games.

Reports from Entertainment Software Association (ESA) show that women over the age of 18 represent 30% of the game-playing population, numbers significantly greater portion than boys from 6 to 17 at 23% in 2006.

Also the Ziff Davis’s Media Game Group found out that women comprise 63% of adult PC gamers. And through Simmons NCS Spring 2005, it was discovered that more women play online games (18% of female respondents age 18 and over had played a game online or downloaded a game to their PC in the last 30 days compared with 15% of male respondents).

According to the ESA, the average adult woman plays games 7.4 hours per week compared to 7.6 hours for adult males. Although males spend more time playing games than women, the gap has narrowed significantly. In 2003, males spent an average of 18 more minutes a day playing games; in 2004, they spent only 6 minutes more each day doing so. When it comes to online gaming, women lead. An AOL DMS Survey, presented in the IGDA’s Casual Game Whitepaper 2005, found that females spent 46% of their game playing time playing online games. Males spent 26% of their total game playing time playing online games. This holds true despite the limited marketing to female consumers by game publishers to date. There appears to be an opportunity to expand the market by creating games for, and targeting them to, female consumers.

Figure: Genres of games played online, by gender, October 2005 - “Which of the following types of games to you play online on your PC?”


All

Male

Female


%

%

%

Puzzle/strategy

60

52

67

Sports/racing

18

27

10

Action/adventure

30

36

24

Casino/gambling

32

34

29

Role playing

20

25

15

Card/board

57

54

60

Classic/arcade

43

41

45

Base: 1,068 adults aged 18 and older who
play games online on their PC at home/work

Source: Mintel/Greenfield Online

This report is a prove that the growing number of female players in the online gaming market has a huge potential and has not yet been fully tapped into. The shift in the online gaming paradigm means that game designs will be also shifting to appeal to the significant growing group and that we should see a decrease in gore and violence in new developments.

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